If you’re looking for how to cancel a job interview by email, this article will help you write the perfect message.
I’m going to share the exact steps for writing your cancelation email and provide word-for-word email samples for the following scenarios:
- Canceling an interview because you’ve accepted another job offer
- Canceling an interview and asking to reschedule
- Canceling without providing a reason
- Canceling a second or third interview (This requires a bit more personalization if you don’t want to burn a bridge with the employer, so I’ll show you what to include.)
I’ll also share the top mistakes to avoid when canceling a job interview, so make sure you read until the end.
How to Cancel a Job Interview by Email:
Inform the Employer as Soon as Possible
Once you’re sure you want to cancel the interview, inform the employer quickly. They’ll appreciate the advance notice. It’s going to be a lot better if you cancel a few days prior to your interview instead of a couple of hours before.
Be Clear and Direct
There’s no benefit to sending a 500-word email when canceling a job interview, and you’re not accomplishing anything by waiting until the third paragraph to inform the hiring manager of your interview cancelation.
While it’s tempting to be indirect, your best bet when canceling an interview via email is to be clear and upfront and tell the employer immediately why you’re writing.
Include the Date of Interview and Job Title in Your Cancelation Email
Since some employers interview many candidates for various positions, consider including the job title you were being considered for and the date your interview was scheduled for when writing to cancel. You’ll see this in the first email example coming up soon. While not completely necessary, it’s a nice addition that employers will appreciate.
Share Your Reasons for Canceling the Job Interview
If you’d like, you can inform the employer of your reasons for canceling an interview. For example, if you’re unable to attend the job interview because you’ve accepted another position, it’s nice to inform the employer so that they don’t waste time trying to reschedule, etc.
However, if you aren’t comfortable sharing the exact reason for wanting to cancel your interview, you can be more vague. For example, you can say, “Unfortunately, I need to cancel the interview as I’m no longer available for new roles.”
Apologize for any Inconvenience
If you’d like to stay on good terms with this employer and hiring manager, consider apologizing for the inconvenience in your email.
To do this, after informing the employer you’d like to cancel, wrap up your email by saying something like, “I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
Ask to Reschedule if You’re Interested
Next, if you’re still interested in this job but simply couldn’t attend the interview at the scheduled time, tell the employer you want to reschedule.
You can say, “I’m still interested in the position and would like to reschedule if at all possible.”
You can also share your future availability to make the rescheduling process easier.
Of course, if you simply want to cancel the interview without rescheduling, then you don’t need to include this in your email.
Sample Emails to Cancel a Job Interview
Sample Email if You’ve Accepted Another Position:
Unfortunately, I need to cancel my job interview scheduled for <Date> for the <Job Title> position.
I’ve accepted a different offer and therefore am no longer active in my job search.
I hope we can keep in touch about future opportunities down the road, and if I come across anyone who would be a good fit for the <Job Title> position at <Company Name>, I’ll put the two of you in touch.
Thank you for considering me for this position and for your time.
Sample Email if You Want to Cancel and Reschedule the Interview:
Unfortunately, I need to reschedule our interview on <Date>.
I had an unexpected obligation come up and simply can’t shift it around on my calendar.
Would it be possible to reschedule our interview for the upcoming week? My availability is as follows:
<Share Dates and Times Here>
Email to Cancel an Interview if You Don’t Want to Provide a Reason:
Unfortunately, I need to cancel our interview scheduled for <Date>. My circumstances have changed and I’m no longer available for the position.
I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Consider Providing More Detail if Canceling a Second or Third Interview
The email templates above are short and simple and are sufficient for canceling a first interview. However, if you’ve built a relationship with an employer or hiring manager by already attending one or two interviews (or more), consider sharing more detail or even calling them on the phone to update them on your reasons for canceling.
If an employer has spent time getting to know you in one or two interviews, they’ll appreciate a phone call or an email that’s more detailed than the samples above. They’d like to know if you decided the position isn’t a fit, if you’ve accepted another job, or if your situation has changed in some other way.
Example Email for Canceling a Second or Third In-Person Interview:
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the interview scheduled for <Date>.
I’ve decided that the <Job Title> position isn’t a match for the direction I want to head in my career and job search.
I’m going to pursue roles with more emphasis on <Area of Focus You Want> and feel other roles offer that to a greater extent.
I appreciate your time spent discussing the position and I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
You can use this same basic script if you choose to pick up the phone and call the hiring manager, too, which will be appreciated if you’ve spent a couple of interviews getting to know each other.
Who Should You Email to Cancel an Interview?
If an HR person or recruiter scheduled your job interview, it’s best to email that person to cancel.
However, if you’re attending a second or third interview after already meeting the hiring manager, and you have their direct email, consider sending your message to the hiring manager (or calling them on the phone, as mentioned above).
After a hiring manager has invested time in meeting you, they’ll appreciate a direct update if you’re unable to attend the scheduled interview, rather than hearing it second-hand from an HR coordinator or recruiter.
Is it Unprofessional to Cancel an Interview?
It’s not unprofessional to cancel a job interview. In fact, it’s quite common for candidates to cancel interviews. Scheduling conflicts happen, people accept job offers and are no longer available, and sometimes people change their minds.
It’s completely normal to cancel a job interview as long as you provide professional notice.
Use the interview cancelation email templates above to ensure you’re being clear and professional with the employer, and consider providing a reason if you can.
It’s unlikely that you’re the first person to cancel an interview with the company, so don’t overthink it or stress too much.
Is it Okay to Cancel an Interview the Day Before?
Yes, it is okay to cancel your job interview the day before. While it’s not ideal to cancel with such short notice, it’s still acceptable and is better than canceling your interview on the same day. If you cancel an interview the day before, the employer will still appreciate that you gave them notice.
Critical Mistakes to Avoid When You Cancel an Interview by Email
Before I conclude this article, I’m going to share a couple of important mistakes to avoid any time you need to cancel or reschedule your interview.
The first mistake to watch out for: Make sure you’re 100% sure you want to cancel before sending the message. You never know what will happen after you cancel, and there’s no guarantee the employer will be able to reschedule (or won’t just hire someone else quickly).
So always weigh the decision carefully before you send the email to cancel.
Next, if you’re interested in rescheduling, it’s a mistake to make this difficult for the employer. You want to make this as easy as possible, and you can do this by being apologetic and then providing specific dates and times that you’re available.
And the final mistake: Sharing more information than you’re comfortable with in your email. While it’s polite and helpful to share some basic details about why you’re canceling, especially if you’ve accepted another job offer, you’re not obligated to share anything that you’re not comfortable with when canceling job interviews.
So if you’re uncomfortable, then use the third email template above which is the simplest and least specific.
However, know that you’re likely burning a bridge with the employer if you cancel a job interview and don’t provide them with at least some detail about why.
Conclusion: The Right Way to Cancel a Job Interview
If you read everything above, you now know how to cancel an interview without burning bridges.
Interview cancelation isn’t something to fear, and it’s not necessarily bad to back out of an interview as long as you remain professional and communicate the news to the employer as soon as possible.
Just remember that interview cancelation is more common than you think and the employer will likely understand and quickly move on.
You may even be able to keep a dialogue going with that employer regarding future positions if you’re interested. Just mention in your email if you’re interested in staying connected, so they know you’d like to be considered for other roles.
More email templates for job seekers: